Jun 27, 2007

something completely different

I don't think I am going to have the time to maintain this blog, in the ensuing months. I am planning to open a bookstore and that will take some time. Maybe I will let this blog slowly transform into a record of my Herculean efforts to open a bookstore in the shadow of Powell's.

For right now I mostly have a bunch of ideas and plans and not a clear path to getting them done. So - it is about 10:30 on a Friday morning, the weather looks like it is leftovers from thanksgiving and Okkervil radio is bouncing out of my radio speakers.

Jun 23, 2007

The Incredibly large Sandwich

Today I went downtown and watched Jean Renoir's classic film The Rules of the Game. I was impressed, I think it is maybe the best movie I have ever seen in my life. You should watch it if you get the chance - but don't rent it on DVD, wait until it is playing at a theater because black and white just doesn't look that good on tv.

I couldn't find anybody else who wanted to watch it so I went by myself. Afterwards I felt hungry, so I walked to the nearby Safeway for a snack to eat, while I sat down and thought about the movie, and that is when I saw it.

The most ridiculously large sandwich I have ever witnessed. It was made out of an entire loaf of French bread! At first I ignored the sandwich - I went to look for chocolate milk. But the thought of the sandwich stayed with me. A sandwich of such immense size almost seemed like a direct challenge - like mount Everest, the nature of it's stature demanded that it be reckoned with and if possible - tamed.

I bought the Sandwich, and gloated over it in my arms, as though it were a trophy sized fish. Then I lugged it outside and down to the park blocks. Keep in mind that in the above picture half of the sandwich has been consumed, it was twice as big.

I worked on the sandwich in shifts, pausing to drink milk and call friends for encouragement. It was late in the evening and I noticed that the people walking by seemed afraid of the sandwich. Horrified even. They would not make eye contact with me, whether out of fear or aversion I do not know. Even the two cops on bicycles, who were kicking everybody out of the park at that late hour, turned their heads and cycled away quickly.

The only people who approached me during this monumental undertaking were two drunk frat boys who yelled at me from across the street. They demanded that I sell them some weed. I don't know why. I ignored them and continued to take steady chews off the sandwich - eventually they left.

In the end, I realized I had met more than my match in the sandwich - that it could not be done. I felt very light headed after eating only half of the sandwich, and I was afraid that I might black out there in the park and have to use the sandwich as a makeshift covering against nightfall. Dizzy, I biked home with the sandwich tucked under one arm like a two by four. I think I will feed it to my dog.

Jun 22, 2007

Houseshow: too much of a good thing !

We had a very kick ass show here last night. The house got a lot more packed than I was expecting - the Mercury posted an article about the show going on, and two or three tons of people showed up, as well as the cops ( 4 times) . Still, all things considered it was a blast and the music was great, I'll get around to posting some pics soon.

Jun 16, 2007

Midsummer's Eve Houseshow

as we
It is the Summer Solstice this Thursday, and we are throwing a kick- ass celebration and show! Not only is it the longest day of the year - it's Kate's birthday and the release party for Cloudrag, a brand new lit. mag here in town.

Lot's of bands will play lot's of badass music. I imagine this will all start at about 9. Come and see: Like the Death, Au , Ohioan and the Native Kin, Shelley , Ah Holly Family, Actual Birds ( and if I can track them down in time - the shitty Beatles )

We had a lot of fun at the last houseshow( see pic) - and if it don't rain we can have the show outside, like last time.

32 N. Cook ( across street from wonderbread outlet) Thursday night.

Lion vs. Crocodile vs. Water Buffalo

This video is pretty astounding.


Jun 15, 2007

5 hits of Sunshine

The weather this morning is cloudy, misty, breezy,rainy, sucky and lame. Portland seems stuck in November. Sad music plays on the cafe speakers, two crows outside fight over a carcass, and I just saw an autumn leaf blow past . . . it was crying.

To combat this downer weather here is a list of my top five summer songs - songs that make you want to dance, hop, run, and basically give you an emergency blood transfusion of sunshine.

1. Strawberry Letters 23 - Shugie Otis
2. Skin of my Yellow Country Teeth - Clap Your Hands say Yeah
3. Sinnerman - Nina Simone
4. Seadrum - The Boredoms
5. Summertime ( and the living's easy) - Sam Cooke or any version

Put these songs and a mix of your own on a tape. Pretend it's really hot. Walk around with a boombox, in flip-flops and shorts. Bring a frisbee. Go naked - it's legal in Portland.

Jun 14, 2007

The NoPo Urban Adventure league

Last night I went with four other explorers ( code named Cpt. Sky-wolf, Storm Wolf, Beowulf and Cockeye) on an adventure underneath the depths of Portland. Captain Skywolf reported on this underground tunnel located in the West hills at the border of Forest Park. ( Thurman and 29th)

Getting into the tunnel was a challenge, it begins as a large stream that disappears into a concrete tunnel, the entrance from view by a strange wood lattice covering. Climbing down to the entrance is a bit of a drop so we dropped a nearby log into the hole to shimmy down. At the mouth of the tunnel we found an abandoned back pack with a cd player and other random shit. Someone said " looks like one of the last guys here didn't make it back," and then headed into the underground.

I had hopes that the entrance would snake it's way towards beneath downtown, and possibly hook up with the legendary Shanghai tunnels beneath Portland.

In the beginning the tunnel was fairly wide and we could stand quite easily. Shin deep water flows along the bottom. The sound of our boots slosh-sloshing and echoing, in what was basically a mile long echo tube, was constant.

Ten minutes down the rabbit hole and I dropped the bike light I was using as a flash light, it was swept away by the current. Luckily I had also brought a lighter and a small candle. Most of the graffiti was at the beginning. Some of it was incredibly skillful - especially considering it was in a place where few would ever see it. Pentagrams and devil heads seemed to be a major theme.

A few hundred yards, after the graffiti died off, things took a sharp turn. The decline became steeper - it was like climbing down a concrete water tube slide. The tunnel grew smaller so that we had to hunch over for the rest of the journey. Time, distance and place began to distort. We slogged on another 45 minutes and began to hear a distant roar of perhaps large hydro-turbine or subterranean waterfall. I estimate we traveled well over a mile beneath the posh houses of the West Hills.

The sounds of our voices echoed and carried far off only to return warped and distorted. I began to experience a strange sense of vertigo. It didn't help things at all that I recently had watched the Descent ( about a group of spelunkers who get eaten by savage, evil, cave monkeys).

When we had been underground for an hour and a half four of us decided it was time to return. We were running low on supplies - especially beer.

On the way back we went for stretches with our headlights turned off to fully experience the darkness. It was trippy - a few minutes of perfect darkness and you lose all sense of direction, the walls seem to drop away and become vast, you can't tell if you are going up or down, the darkness was visceral - you could feel it clinging to your face.

Right near the end of the tunnel, as we approached the fresh light of stars I took off my helmet and then, of course, immediately cracked my head - hard, against a low hanging metal box, resulting in a Fred Flintsone sized lump this morning.

I love getting into situations where just don't know what's around the corner - it makes you appreciate normal, everyday, life.

I heart the Waypost

My morning ritual consists of getting up, doing a few yoga stretches, and then stumbling on over to The Waypost, the best undiscovered coffee shop in North Portland ( and therefore the world).

Today I have been here for an hour, and hardly a soul has come in, which is part of why I love this place. The most popular espresso destination in NoPo is The Freshpot , which I've gone to for years. Sure, they got good coffee, but it is usually so packed I can never get any work done because there are too many people to talk to. For a long time the Freshpot let you take dogs inside which was cool, but after a run-in with the health department over this they banned all four-legged creatures. So me and my dawg have re-located.

The Waypost ( 3120 N Williams - a block south of Pizza a go go) is dog friendly, people friendly and work friendly. They serve great coffee, eclectic music, and it's quiet enough to actually put your nose to the grind stone and get into the book you're reading, or the ibook your toting, whatever. It is very laid-back, they have a piano in the front that customers are encouraged to play. At night the cafe transforms into a wine and beer hang-out with a full calendar of music and a motley assortment of talks on everything from a weekly Spanish class to a bookbinding presentation.

Micheal the owner says he wants to keep the place from ever getting too packed, so it is always a little under the radar.

Jun 13, 2007

Time to clean out the Basement!

Hmmmmyess? Oh , pardon me you would like to clean zee basement? Oh fine, don't mind me, I vas just leeving. Myes. No, no, it'z no bother, getting a little too sunny in here. I'll just be on my way now. What? Oh, I was behind ze furnace, mmm-yes? Ta-ta.

Upcoming show in N. Portland

Here comes a Big Black Cloud is back from their recent, ill-fated, world tour ( The tour bus broke down in Cali) you can catch them this Sunday at the Trauma Ward, 5802 N. Mississipi. Playing with:

Red Herring
Sleepwalkers RIP

Starts at 6 p.m. "sharp". Oh yeah, and it's a BBQ too!

Jun 12, 2007

Free Summer Fun

As a new member of the ranks of the unemployed, I am always on the look-out for ways to have fun that don't cost a dime.

Here are two things you can do in this town for free:

Play Go, with the Portland Go club, every Tuesday night at Powell's books downtown. As seen in the movies Pi and Beautiful Mind. This ancient game from the mysterious orient will make your brain sweat! Every bit as rich in strategy and mesmerizing analytical complex-pattern crunching goodness as chess, but with a sort of Taoist philosophy governing it's tactics.

If thinking hard isn't your thing then check out Pedalpalooza going on all over town this month. This is basically a bunch of fun-loving bike nerds doing every thing from eating lot's of Tacos, to dancing, to being naked . . . on their bikes!

Oh yeah and don't miss the annual pub crawl : good beer and great beer-inspired crashes.

2622 SE Belmont (The Vern)
7:00pm, Show up at 7pm

Hangover City !


Some times after a night of drinking I wake up feeling refreshed - as though the cathartic flow of PBR has exfoliated my soul, leaving me nimble and spry as a faun. This morning is not one of those times. My eyes feel crusty, even though I just washed my face, and my thoughts are like a weather balloon drifting aimlessly around an empty sky; if my brain was a hand, then right now it would be too weak to grip a pencil.

Not that that's a bad thing ! It's kind of relaxing to let your brain go on vacation once in awhile. Maybe we should stop thinking of hangovers as a bad thing and call them by the euphemism "brain vacation". It's almost a zen thing.

I was reading in some psychology article that the lower a person's IQ, the less they get bored, because they are easily entertained. It makes sense. And while having a fuzzy-brained hangover certainly doesn't help me come up with any bright ideas, it's not boring. I am quite content to sit here this morning, sipping my coffee, spacing out . . . humming along . . .uh . . .what was I saying?

Jun 10, 2007

What's the story morning glory ?

Hi there !

Ok, I know that a blog is supposed to have a theme like politics or music or whatever. More on that later. This is my first time ever posting to a blog, and really it is only happening because I'm in the middle of a lovely afternoon with a little too much time on my hands . . . if this is the only entry I ever write I won't be too surprised.